Objective:Almost always the same but the first 2 levels are different from 3-9. Level 1 requires that you stockpile 1000 credits. That means you have that much money currently stored, as indicated in the top right.
Starting: Every level begins with a Construction Yard, units, and credits, : 2 Quads, 3 Troopers. 1000 Credits.
This mission is a simple one and is essentially an economic tutorial answering the question, how to make credits? There are enemy troops surrounding the base scattered throughout the desert that you don't need to attack unless you want to.
Build a concrete slab at your Construction Yard (CY). Using the keyboard shortcuts that are generally the first letter of the command, i.e. M, A, G, R, etc., use your Quads to spread out going east and clear out the shroud. Take your Troopers and head southwest. As is generally the case in an RTS when your forces are combined and focused, the more powerful you are, the quicker you take down the enemy, which also means the less hits you take and therefore the longer your forces will survive. It goes without saying, that if you do come across enemies go ahead and attack.
As soon as you move, the slab should be ready. Some prefer to put down all their slabs for the windtrap and refinery before building those structures. The reason is you get more time to explore and place the refinery in the closest direction to the spice. As you place the slabs, place them first where you will definitly put a building, and preferrably where you may think the refinery will go, and then hopefully by the time you finish up with the slabs you know whether that spot is for a refinery or you should use it for a windtrap. FYI, windtraps require a 2x2 block of slabs and refineries require a 2(vertical)x3(horizontal) block of slabs.
Laying down the economy
Alternate back and forth from building slabs and moving your forces. Your troopers should move partway down to the southwest and then sweep north until level with the base and go northeast until over the base. The Quads should go in a counterclockwise motion once it hits the east edge of the map and sweep to the west side so the whole north of the map is clear. What this motion has done is scouted the map for spice in a quick efficient manner and allowed you to place your refinery in the best place possible, removed threats in that direction and thus allow you to focus troops all to the south. Most likely these moves won't be completed by the time the refinery is placed, but you still would have completed the necessary recon to get to the spice.
Finishing the mission
So all you need to do is let your harvester harvest spice. It will take 1+ loads to get the required 1000 credits. Every load brings in 700 credits. Since you built slabs for 50 credits, and maybe you lost some credits to the desert as periodically happens and gained 7-8 credits for the harvester coming in, you may be just under 250. So you can do another load for 10% or just do a full load and finish off the rest of the troops.
If you go on the offensive, bring the quads down the west edge of the map to the bottom, use your troopers to go down the middle of the map from the south of your base to a little bit above it. Move your quads along the bottom to the SE corner and your troopers east, until everything is clear. The harvester should be finishing up and you win.
Not really notes to keep in mind, but more about score. Score is based upon how many kills you get, how much spice you acquire, how many buildings you destroy. Also if you convert buildings then that doesn't help your score, neither does losing troops. It seems if you do so fast enough you do get a bonus but if it takes longer than there is no real effect. You ultimately can get larger scores by destroying harvesters and harvesting the spice.
You can be attacked in this mission but generally the enemy troops march into your buildings and so there isn't much to worry about. Especially since your aggression will take out most of the aggressors.
Also, if you have an earlier version you will have to answer a question to keep playing. The answers are in the manual if you can find one, and if not the mentat is a good source. The answers are generally Very Slow, Slow, Medium, Fast, Very Fast. Very Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Heavy. And the names are complete names like Windtrap Power Center, or House Palace, etc. The "very's" are only used with Raider trikes and devastator. If you get an easier question, use the mentat in later missions to help you identify the various parts of the game that questions will be asked from. You should always put capitals at the start of words to make sure you get it exactly.